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Eugene Allen Clewer

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Eugene Allen Clewer (1890-1944)

Head of Engineering Department, Tech. College, Doncaster.


1945 Obituary [1]

EUGENE ALLEN CLEWER will be remembered by a very wide circle of present and former students of Doncaster Technical College, where for twenty-four years he was head of the mechanical and electrical engineering departments. He was born in 1890 and received his early education at Todmorden, Manchester, where he later studied at the Technical School. In 1906 he became an apprentice in the Manchester works of Messrs. Mather and Platt, and after serving a five years' term he entered the drawing office. He had continued his technical education meanwhile at the Manchester Municipal College of Technology, where he obtained a first-class diploma in mechanical engineering. Later he was placed in charge of the erection of chemical plant by Messrs. Mather and Platt at Ashton-under-Lyne and Oldham Water Works.

Clewer's big chance came in 1918 when the vacancy for a head lecturer in mechanical and electrical engineering occurred at Doncaster. He made the difficult decision, proved by his later career to be entirely right, to break away from industrial engineering and make teaching his future métier. Once established in his new position, he soon showed that he meant to make it his life's work. He reorganized the engineering courses, and established an up-to-date mechanical engineering laboratory, and generally did everything in his power to raise the status of the College. He introduced the National Certificate schemes as a regular college feature, when they were still in their infancy, and was a great believer in the usefulness of these examinations.

In later years he acted as an assessor for the National Certificate Scheme for Scottish Cadets, a service which was much appreciated at the Institution.

His energy and resource compelled admiration, especially in view of a physical disability, which characteristically he refused to allow as a handicap. Realizing that his position in the teaching world would be strengthened by the possession of a university degree, he set to work as an external student of the University of London, and in spite of the heavy burden which he was then carrying in the equipment of the mechanical engineering laboratory and the introduction of workshop courses, he graduated with first-class honours in 1924.

As a teacher, Clewer was extraordinarily gifted. He had a way of winning the interest of students from the outset of a lecture, and of sustaining it throughout a whole session, which would have made him the envy of almost any technical lecturer fortunate enough to have seen him at work and to have come under his spell. With the lightest touch, he seemed to instil engineering principles into the minds of his students so that, once assimilated, they were not forgotten. Even in the briefest memoir, one cannot leave his personal charm out of account. He was held in great affection by his students, who well knew how ceaselessly he had their interests at heart.

In 1935 he revived the Doncaster Engineering Society, and held the office of secretary until his retirement in 1943, when he was elected its president. He had long been a keen supporter of the Institution, which he joined as an Associate Member in 1924, his transference to Membership taking place ten years later. In 1943 he was obliged, owing to ill health, to retire from a most active career; his death occurred on 30th July 1944. He had seen his department at the College grow from a small group of teachers, with a quite unpretentious syllabus and but little apparatus, into a thoroughly up-to-date and well-equipped organization with ten full-time and twenty-four part-time teachers and two mechanics, and a workshop likely to meet the local needs for many years to come.

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